How to spot a great tenant

July, 2014

For landlords, getting an organised, reliable and friendly tenant is like finding the holy grail. Unruly tenants can make a landlord's life a living hell while a good tenant can make working in property an simple endeavour - almost! So, if you own a house and are looking to rent it out, finding good tenants is essential.

However, stumbling upon the right tenant without putting in any effort is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. As landlords begin their hunt for the right tenant, it's worth bearing in mind these essential tips:

Knowing your tenants

It's ideal to get as clear a picture as possible of a tenant before letting out a property. If landlords have an idea of who is moving into one of their properties, the clearer it will be to establish whether a tenant will be a long-term or short-term renter.

Letting agents can complete thorough background and reference checks on potential tenants, relieving landlords of all the hard work. By checking tenants' past and current employment status, references from previous landlords as well as credit checks, landlords will be in an ideal position to determine whether a tenant is right for their property. Top tip: find out how long tenants have been at previous properties as this can be a good indicator on how long a specific tenant may stay at their next property.

Appealing to a specific market

These checks can also determine who your tenants are likely to be - young professionals, families, students etc. - and landlords can decorate their property to appeal to certain markets as appropriate.

Colour, fixtures, fittings, furnishings and other extras (premium television, bills paid, space for car parking) can all vary depending on your target market so it's worth taking a step back and deciding which market to target. A five-bedroom house near campus might not be the right environment for a young couple but would be perfect for a group of students starting a new term.

Spotting a less desirable tenant

On the other side of the spectrum, there are a number of characteristics specific to a less desirable tenant that may make landlords think twice about letting their property.

Poor references from previous landlords and a bad credit rating should certainly be triggers for landlords, while a reluctance to meet up with landlords/letting agents in person should also be ringing alarm bells. Tenants who refuse to make monthly payments by standing order as well as those looking for a very short-term let can also be seen as a warning.

Overall, acquiring a good tenant is simply down to planning. By making notes to target the right market, conducting thorough checks and knowing the warning signs, landlords and letting agents can find the most suitable tenant for a property, keeping all parties happy throughout the tenancy.

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